By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission
Frank Cantrill, a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Australia, was shocked when doctors diagnosed him with skin cancer. But an even bigger surprise came two weeks later when a gaping hole in his head healed in what stunned doctors called a miracle.
Frank was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, on his head in 2014. “It was a shock to be told that if the new drugs didn’t work, I would not have too many chances”, said Frank, 72.
A pastor anointed him, and people began to pray for him. Frank underwent a series of operations, radiation treatments, and immunotherapies with his wife, Marlene, at his side.
Complications arose after an operation where doctors removed a large melanoma from the back of Frank’s head, leaving part of his skull exposed. Nurses dressed the wound, waiting for the skin to grow back over the skull, and later his wife took over.
The wound healed well at first, but then the skin just stopped growing.
One day, the color of the exposed skull changed from white to yellow. A plastic surgeon gave Frank the disturbing diagnosis that his skull had died. The surgeon called in a leading plastic surgeon for consultations, and the two decided to perform a major surgery with the assistance of a neurosurgeon. The complex operation would take eight to 10 hours and require the doctors to replace Frank’s skull with an artificial one.
“The news was a shock to us”, Marlene said in an e-mail to friends.
A few days later, as Marlene was changing the dressing on Frank’s head, a chunk of discolored skull came off with the dressing and rested in her hand. “I nearly collapsed with shock!” Marlene said.
Underneath the chunk of skull that had come off, she could see that Frank’s flesh had been growing across the skull and had covered the gaping hole.
Over the next two days, Frank visited three medical specialists to find out what was happening. He learned that the human skull has three layers, and his flesh had been growing underneath the first layer, eventually forcing the top layer of the skull to pop off.
The medical specialists declared it a miracle. “They said, ‘Who is looking after you?” Marlene said.
Frank, pictured left, and Marlene pointed to God as the Great Physician. The operation was canceled, and Frank was sent back home.
“God knows what is happening, and He has perfect timing”, Marlene said. “All we can say is ‘Praise the Lord!”